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Friday 10th April 2020

Furness Business News


FURNESS Enterprise today pledged to fight for local jobs and investment as a trade-off for the visual impact of 152 giant wind turbines being built off the coast.

The government has given the go-ahead for the £500m Walney Wind Farm, to be built by Danish energy company Dong, 14 miles off Walney in the Irish Sea.

The first turbines could turn as early as 2010 with the project completed by 2013. Dong has said the Walney Wind Farm, which will have between 93 and 152 giant turbines capable of powering 360,000 homes, could create up to 45 jobs, with 12 to 15 being Dong workers and the rest contractors.

Permission for a further 100 giant turbines called the West of Duddon field, also partly owned by Dong, could come in the next two months or in early 2008. Regeneration agency Furness Enterprise made a submission to the government last year.

It said the effect on the sea skyline of so many turbines with its possible effects on tourism and amenity, must be countered by local jobs and investment by wind farm companies.

Stuart Klosinski, industrial development manager of Furness Enterprise which has been sceptical about the benefits of offshore wind farms, said: “We look forward to working with the company to bring lasting economic benefit to Furness in the form of new jobs, additional business for the port of Barrow and the businesses in the area, designed to reduce joblessness and regenerate the economy.

“When we discussed the project with them a year ago we suggested they may want to work with local organisations to train people for any jobs that come available and also explore the possibility of research and development and the manufacture of components being undertaken in partnership with local firms.”

Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks, who gave the go-ahead yesterday, said it proved the government’s belief in renewable energy.

Mr Wicks said Britain and Denmark were leading the world in renewable energy technologies such as offshore wind. Dong is half owner of the first wind farm off Walney completed last year which has 30 turbines, created 13 local jobs and is building a new office and depot at Barrow docks now.

Another firm, Eclipse Energy, was granted planning permission early this year to build 30 turbines combined with a small gas field of Walney. Walney councillor John Murphy said: “Sometimes you feel these things are the bees knees and the next minute you start to think are they really the bees knees. I support renewable energy but obviously there is concern that these turbines will blight the seascape. There is no doubt that they will and we have this beautiful panoramic seascape, so I have very mixed feelings.”

Fellow Walney councillor Des Barlow said: “It is quite a way out to sea. We are going to run out of natural resources eventually and it is one way of producing energy.”

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